Calling them would be too easy
June 28, 2013 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Making the switch from Verizon to AT&T and I have a few basic questions.

My Verizon contract is just about to expire and I’m looking to add my line to my fiancée’s plan on AT&T. I have a few questions:

- She’s had her account forever so she has unlimited data and text. Would I be able to piggyback off the unlimited data / add it to my line or no?

- I’ve never switched numbers from another carrier but I’m assuming people do it all the time. Is there anything I have to do beforehand or should be aware of? My Verizon line is with a family plan that also includes my mom and my dad.

- If everything goes smoothly, how long should this process take? I’d like to handle this on a lunch break.

- My Verizon contract expires on July 1st. Does this mean that I can go to the AT&T store on the 1st and be fine or should I wait until the 2nd to be on the safe side? Nothing would make me more upset than if Verizon tacks on some BS “early cancelation fee” because I canceled my contract a day early.

July is absolutely insane and the only time we have to deal with this is on the 1st or the 2nd. After that, we’ll have to wait at least two weeks. My old smartphone is on its last legs and I don’t think it’s going to survive that long so I’d like to get everything set before things really get crazy.
posted by Diskeater to Technology (9 answers total)
I seriously doubt you'll be able to piggyback on her unlimited data. Especially if you're planning on buying a new phone to get to AT&T (which I assume you'll have to, since it's GSM vs CDMA). They are trying very hard to get people off those plans. In fact, be very careful that they don't take it away from her in the process.

For porting, you just give some info to AT&T and they'll be able to port over your number for you. Pretty painless actually.

A lunch break might be long enough, depending on the person you deal with. And assuming that both you and your fiancee are there.

And early cancellation fees are pro-rated generally, so if they charge one, I imagine it would be $0.47 or something ridiculously small, so I'd go for the 1st, in case it takes longer or something goes wrong, then you have another chance to try on the 2nd.
posted by Grither at 9:51 AM on June 28, 2013

You can go into AT&T on the 1st. To do this properly, you won't be able to close your Verizon line until the 4th or 5th, so you'll have a couple extra days pro-rated on your line for the the final billing cycle.

DO NOT cancel anything with Verizon until your new phone on AT&T is set up and properly working with your current number. When you sign up with AT&T, tell them you want to "port" your current number. They will take care of making sure that happens, although the entire process can take up to 72 hours on the backend.

Once the porting is complete, then you can cancel your Verizon line. What usually happens is that Verizon will release your number to AT&T and subsequently assign a new number to your current phone/line - so you'll need to call them up (or have your parents do it if they are the official account holders) and cancel your line once Verizon has assigned the new number to your phone. Since this happens only after the number porting is done, you will at that point be a few days past your contract date and into the free-for-all wonder of month-to-month billing, so the cancellation should be easy and swift.

As for unlimited data, sadly, you probably can't get in on that action. It's only grandfathered in for existing lines. Doesn't apply to new lines, even on old accounts where another line already has it.

So yes - you can absolutely sign up with AT&T on a lunch break. And when it comes time to cancel your Verizon line, you can also do that relatively easily, since you'll be out of contract.
posted by trivia genius at 9:52 AM on June 28, 2013

Porting is really easy. Do NOT tell your old service provider that you are switching, everything is done by the new one. You probably don't even have to call, you can just do it over the phone.

You should call AT&T and ask them, but probably you won't be able to have unlimited data anymore and they'll move you to a different shareplan.
posted by radioamy at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2013

Yeah, if my experience is representative, as soon as she tries to make any changes whatsoever to her account, they'll take her off the unlimited data plan and move her to a tiered plan. They're not going to let you add another device to unlimited data, and if you try, she could end up losing her existing plan. I wouldn't risk it if I were her.
posted by decathecting at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just went from Verizon to AT&T.

First of all, call the AT&T store and make an appointment. If they are helping other people do the same type of thing you could be waiting for a long time (they said it can sometimes take hours to help people).

Be sure to have your Verizon account number with you.

As soon as they ported my number I was able to use it immediately (in fact, someone called me in the store minutes after it was done).
posted by la petite marie at 10:24 AM on June 28, 2013

Best answer: You can have one line on an unlimited plan and another on a different plan. Be clear with the rep that you do not want her to lose her unlimited data. She will need to be with you to authorize the change.
posted by soelo at 10:26 AM on June 28, 2013

Best answer: Jumping in to caveat that AT&T (at least as of last year) doesn't allow different area codes on the same family plan; only on their business plans - so if you do not share an area code with your fiancee, they may give you a hard time and/or refuse to port your number.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2013

AFAIK neither carrier lets you share data on an unlimited plan, nor do they let you tether/hotspot on an unlimited plan.

Keep in mind that if she wants to keep her unlimited data plan, you may not be saving any money by switching (you'll have a different plan) and you lose the additional coverage by having both Verizon and AT&T.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:25 PM on June 28, 2013

Response by poster: UPDATE:

We were able to make the switch on my lunch break with time to spare. They did not let me transfer my number because my number came from a "different market". Wasn't too happy about that but I was prepared for the possibility thanks to this thread.

My fiancee was able to keep her unlimited data.

The monthly cost is about $3 more than my Verizon plan. I had unlimited data (that I never came close to fully utilizing) and 500 text messages a month. Now I have unlimited texting and 3GB per month. A tradeoff but one that makes sense for me.
posted by Diskeater at 8:45 AM on July 2, 2013

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